After years of false starts, Palm Beach County Commissioners unanimously approved $75.1 million in bonding for Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium renovations, keeping the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins in Jupiter through 2049.
With the spring-training leases for both MLB teams set to end in 2027 and the facility in sore need for both renovations and maintenance, the deal was inevitable. Last year Palm Beach County approved a $108-million renovation plan for the spring-training complex, with the plans calling for the demolition of existing clubhouses to make room for additional outfield seating, replacement clubhouses, expanded WiFi, relocated bullpens, upgraded concessions, new group spaces and other improvements. (Already cut from the project, surprisingly: a 360-degree wraparound concourse.)
The price tag has risen to $111 million, but the scale of the project remains the same.
The deal between the county and the joint Cardinals/Marlins venture operating the ballpark, Jupiter Stadium Ltd., commits the teams to a new lease through April 30, 2049. Some of the county money will come from an existing tourism and building fund, with the rest bonded. These new bonds will be backed by the county’s hotel bed tax, which saw revenues shrink during COVID-19 but have since rebounded. (Those lessened revenues caused the renovations to be postponed by a year.) State tourism funds designed to keep MLB teams training in Florida and payments from the teams will complete the budget.
The improvements allow the Cardinals and the Marlins to keep pace with other MLB teams enjoying new and renovated facilities. Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium originally opened in 1998, with the Cardinals beginning spring training operations at the facility that year and the Marlins replacing the Montreal Expos in 2003.
Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium is also seen as an important part of the county tourism mix: Besides the direct financial impact of spring training (estimated roughly at $60 million annually), the ballpark also hosts MiLB ball in the form of the Jupiter Hammerheads and Palm Beach Cardinals (both Single-A; Florida State League), while the complex hosts youth baseball tournaments and other events year-round.
RELATED STORIES: No Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium upgrades in near future; Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium Renovation Talks Continue; Debate Continues Over Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium Upgrades; Cards, Marlins Halt Roger Dean Stadium Upgrades; Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium Upgrades Pitched by Cards, Marlins